Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Pure and Undefiled Religion

" 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' "

I must feed the hungry and give the thirsty something to drink. I must open my home and offer my clothes. I must take care of the sick and visit those in prison. I must do these things.

I cannot delegate the responsibilites of my faith to another without also delegating the reward.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Shorts 05/30/05

I got my temporary, plastic crown today. It all went well. The hygienist even turned the TV on for "me." I got to see three episodes of Ambush Makeover. I have to go back in two weeks so they can put the permanent crown on . . . with temporary cement. Then three to six months later, if the perm crown is working, they will reattach it with perm cement. Phew. I never realized what a process it was for my dentist, buying a new boat.

"Who is this who looks down like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?" (SS 6.10, ESV)

I cooked out on the grill today, with millions of others in America, and ate outside - it was beautiful. I made some burgers that nobody liked except for Sophie and myself. I thought they were delicious. Sure, a few of them were a little on the steak-tartare side, but - Yum. My apologies, SugarBooger. (But they were pretty awesome.) If E. coli breaks out in the fam, I'll keep you up to date on all the juicy tidbits - so to speak.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


I've been reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Tonight I was moved by Don's thoughts on legalism and God's grace. So moved, that I had a vision. Kind of. Let's just say that I was impressed with the image of a man with marvelous eyes. His eyes were full of joy and levity, overflowing with grace. Do you know what kind of eyes I mean? There was no guile in them; they were full of understanding and compassion; they were laughing eyes (not mocking, the furthest thing from mocking) - Jesus eyes. Freedom was in them. And, this is important, I wanted this vision to be about me. I want to be a vehicle of grace. I want to, I got to. Not for my sake, but for God's sake, because he loves me. (Great God in heaven, you know I love you.) At the same moment, I realized how much unlike this man I am. But I need it. (You know I want it.) And I was caught up in the rattling and humming and roaring of the song "Vehicle" by Ides of March, the vision's soundtrack.

I'm your vehicle, babe.
I'll take you anywhere you wanna go.
I'm your vehicle, woman.
By now I'm sure you know
That I love ya (love you);
I need ya (need you);
I want to, I got to have ya.
Great God in heaven, you know I love you.
And I'm your vehicle, babe.

I'm your vehicle, Lord. I got to be your vehicle - even if it kills me.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Unicorn and Duck Pond

Unicorn and Duck Pond
©2005 Lymws Productions
Originally uploaded by sixlyons.
By Anna - 4 years old. Medium: Crayon on Copy Paper.


I love when God stirs my soul. He shows me loveliness in his creation: the darkening day's sky on fire, the earth perfumed with honeysuckle, the shadow of a cloud caressing the face of a mountain, the thundering majesty of the ocean, and the smile of an old friend. I am a poor soul who has been wooed by Christ's beauty. And I am happy and comfortable.

But here he is, now, shaking me. Wrecking me. Razing the faith I love - ripping apart this house I've built. There was a moment in his anger where I thought I heard him muttering (Does God mutter?), "I am."

The mystery of God increases, and I - tired of arguing, tired of hiding, tired of lying - fall to my knees and worship.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

There Is a Crown Waiting for Me

I have lived a good life, except for all that horrible sin. But, in spite of the sin, perhaps even because of it, there is a crown waiting for me. One day soon, it will be mine. "Yay-us, it shale be mahn!" Can I get a witness? I said, can I get a witness!

Cheryl just called from Dr. Kordsmeier's office, she said she'd be my witness. But it will cost me about a grand on Memorial Day and end my root canal ordeal.

Sugar and Spice, and Everything


My six-year-old, Sophie, was watching Spider-Man (I know what you're thinking, and, whatever) and when he rescues Mary Jane and swings away with her, my sweet one looked at me and said, "Spider-Man couldn't pick you up like that." My first born! The fruit of my looms!

One morning I was working in my office. Sophie woke up, came into the room, sidled up next to me, and started farting. I, slightly green in the face, looked at her and asked her to go downstairs if she was going to continue breaking wind, stepping on the duck, making the spider bark, flatulate, fart, or what you will. She looked at me and said sweetly, "I'm going to go downstairs and make Anna cough."

"Anna, find your shoes," I said. "I don't know where they are," she said. "That's why you need to look," I said. (We go through this routine every time we need to go somewhere.) And as I was readying my only begotten son, I saw Anna looking between her legs at the floor below her. She looked up and said, "Daddy, I looked under my butt and my shoes aren't there!"

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Mountain

Avery and the Mountain
Originally uploaded by sixlyons.
"Behold, I am making all things new!" (Rev. 21.5, NASB)

The Root Canal

I had to have a root canal yesterday. I was a little unnerved by the prospect (or would be by the procedure -- Ar, Ar, Ar). Strangely, I was also a little excited about going through the pain of it. I've always heard things like "About as much fun as a root canal." Now, I was going to have that concept made incarnate in the flesh of my gums. Woohoo!

Having said that, I was sorely disappointed. For me, it was a relatively pain-free experience. I've had worse BMs, for goodness' sake!

Having said that, and somewhat sorry for having said that, there were two extremely painful aspects of the procedure: (1) Writing the check that you must inevitably write when you have no dental insurance. Ouch. And (2) "About as much fun as a root canal" and similar comparisons have now been emasculated. Worse than emasculated, my root canal experience excised a figure of speech from the English language. OUCH! What kind of soulless animals are these "dentists" who have the gall to do such a thing? A root canal ought to be painful. Is black now white? Is evil good?

I sit here in mental anguish on a heap of mental ashes tearing my mental robe. I must go rethink my life. For now, goodbye.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Real Live Preacher

The following is a comment I posted on Real Live Preacher's Web site. I was so enamored with my thoughts, I narcissistically decided to post them as a blog entry.

In RLP's latest article "The Gift of Believing," he says, "I have no desire to claim doubt as some sort of virtue, a sign of depth or intelligence. . . . Yet I am not ashamed of my doubts."

I've been waiting for someone to say this, and I'm thankful it was rlp. Sometimes I wonder if a new sect within Christianity is rising, and they will be called "doubters." They will hold up doubt as a virtue. They will call on all believers to doubt. It strikes me as a great irony.

Belief/Faith is an interesting creature. James says that being faithful is the sign of faith, of belief. Good deeds don't require warm fuzzies, last time I checked. Nevertheless, we do long to have unity between our hands, our hearts, and our heads -- I think, perhaps, that is part of the process of sanctification, of redemption. We wrestle with divinity through the dark nights of our lives and are transformed into being wholly his.

RLP, thanks for what you do.

Monday, May 23, 2005

We Few, We Happy Few

We few, we happy few, we band of brother;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England, now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
-- Henry V 4.3.65-72

I love this passage from Henry V. There's something in it that stirs your soul -- honor, nobility, brotherhood, redemption. Like these men, you want to be shoulder to shoulder with your king. You want to be in the thick of the battle with him and hear him say, "For he to-day that sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother." It's the kind of call you long to respond to.

In the same way, Christ calls us. For to be a Christian is to be at war. Don't misunderstand me -- I don't mean we ought to be fighting against drunkards, adulterers, homosexuals, murderers, thieves, and idolaters. In fact, we ought to be fighting for them as we fight against the powers/spirits of this world. Because these people are who we were. And while we were them, Jesus died for us. Jesus died for them.

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Eph. 6.13, NKJV).

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Revenge of the Sith

Yes, I am one of those people. Those Star Wars freaks. Not your convention-attending freak, mind you. But Star Wars is in my blood. And I saw Revenge last night. It's, by far, the best of the prequels.

The movie has incredible Jedi-fighting sequences -- they alone are worth the price of admission. On the other hand, the movie isn't very shocking or surprising. It simply fills in some of the blanks that you know have gotta be filled.

A couple of disappointments about Revenge and Star Wars in general: (1) The prequels, and specifically Revenge, have the seed of powerful story in it, but they never deliver. Anakin's life is a great, but underdeveloped, tragedy. I am never quite able to connect with him emotionally. Not enough time, I suppose. Maybe just bad writing, acting, or directing. (2) Only one of the trilogies will have the "oh-my-gosh factor." For instance, if you watch Episodes 4-6 first, then the surprises within the storyline of Revenge (Anakin's betrayal, Padme's death, the Jedis' destruction, the revelation of Sidious) are made irrelevant. And if you watch Episodes 1-3 first, the surprises within the storyline of Empire and Jedi (Vader being Luke's father, Leia his sister) are made irrelevant. (Hey, give me a break. I already admitted to being a freak.)

But I grew up with Star Wars. I first saw it when I was six years old, maybe half a dozen times in the theater. The movies have brought me both pleasure and disappointment. Far more pleasure, however, than disappointment. There will probably always be a boy within me who thinks it would be sweet to be a Jedi. And though people have made better movies and written better stories, that's not a such a bad accomplishment for Mr. Lucas.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Women in Tennis Skirts

Women in tennis skirts -- they look at my children and then they look at me. I can tell what they're thinking, "Oh, he must have dressed them."

So, in response, let me admit to a few things:
  1. My girls aren't perfectly groomed.
  2. After all this time of being a dad to three girls, I still have trouble with hair bows.
  3. Matching outfits sometimes are just not a priority for me.
  4. Women look fine in tennis skirts.
  5. Nine times out of ten, my children probably have ketchup stains around their mouths, or chocolate milk mustaches.
But these girls, these girls are crazy about their daddy. And, hey, the rest is peripheral.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Yeah, we take 'em.

Where I live, McDonald's was the last fast-food restaurant to take credit/debit/cash cards. Then one day they begin accepting them and they put out these signs that make me laugh every time I see them: "Yeah, we take 'em," referring to the brands of cards they accept. It sounds as if they're saying, "We've been doing this all along." They talk as if they're relevant, and they're not.

And I think we look like McDonald's to our society because, so often, we are the last ones to help people in need. We look back, after we've gotten on the band-wagon, and say, "Yeah, we care about 'em." Shouldn't we be addressing the needs of people before those who don't know God? We're the body of Christ, created to be his compassionate hands to the "least of these." Are we still relevant?

What happened? Christians started out right. They addressed the needs of people. They met people's physical and spiritual needs, redeeming lives wherever they went. What happened?

We still struggle with racial prejudice in our churches -- still. "He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes." That seems pretty clear to me.

People are dying of AIDS and instead of helping we condemn them for their lifestyle. Do they need condemnation from us? Do they need to be told the truth or see it lived out before them? Help, for Christ's sake! People in need have no recourse but God. Should we leave it to others?

People are dying of poverty and instead of helping we consume more and more and do nothing to lift the burden from their shoulders. Do they need to hear the words, "The poor will always be with [us]"? Or do they need to be fed?

Let's resolve as a community of believers not to be the last to do God's work in our world. Let's resolve not to become an ironic footnote in the record of history. Let's resolve to love people. As you treat the minority, the diseased, and the poor, Christ said, so you treat me.

Christianity is relevant. The question is Are you? Am I?

Bleepin' Blips

I had something wonderfully profound that I was going to write about this morning and now it has completely slipped my mind. Age would be a nice excuse, except I've always forgotten things. (But here I am anyway, blogging about nothing simply because I want to be blogging. It's a creative outlet for my soul, two days into it.)

Well, I've been thinking about the idea(s) of solitude and silence. I've been wondering where and when I can cash in on the discipline. About the only place I can get solitude and silence is in the bathroom. And even then little hands pound on the door or argument and crying break out from across the house. I am rarely alone. At night, after everyone has gone to bed, I'm too tired. I would like to go out and find solitude in the morning, in the light of the sunrise. But the kids are continually interrupting my sanctification. They clog up the wheels and cogs with muddy hands and sticky fingers and spilled juice. Ah, if it weren't for them, what I couldn't be.

SNAFU is a good working description of life. Kids are the incarnation of it. The problem is we become deceived into thinking that it ought to be smooth sailing. It ought to be all about me. Who sold us that bill of goods? No computer problems, no crying kids, plenty of time to find rest and solitude -- smooth waters. Interruption happens. Life is muddy hands, sticky fingers, and spilled juice. Those things are holy.

So maybe I just need to carve out some time for solitude and silence. I could always stop watching so much TV -- maybe get to bed earlier so that I can wake up earlier. Whatever.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." So said Henry David Thoreau a few years back.

I tried striking out to the woods, the mountains, today. And after spending an hour or so stuck in traffic, I finally made it there. I went to the woods to re-discover the discipline of solitude. This mountain is terrific for hiking, for views, and for quiet -- it's great for meditating on God's natural revelation and for contemplating your life in its shadow. But I went with four small children with me. Then you go to the woods because you're shy a few bricks or short a few marbles. Stupid even comes to mind. I had to carry the 1-year-old boy on my shoulders, because, believe it or not, a stroller isn't really that handy for hiking. And 25 pounds is a load to carry after a while, regardless of what those manly men are capable of in the movies. #3-Girl had on adult flip-flops, which she had to wear. (I don't make it a practice to argue too much with my two-year-old. Everyone loses.) So I had to hold her hand at the same time as carrying the boy as we trudged up one rock and down another. It was a hot day. And I'm not, how shall we say, quite ready for this year's Iron Man competition. It was a difficult day.

I did not find solitude on the mountain. I did, however, realize that time with family, as rough as it can be, is pretty grand. I got some pictures of the kids sitting on some rocks, standing with a beautiful mountain behind them, and standing in front of some gorgeous purple rhododendron. And in spite of how tiring the trip was, maybe because of how tiring the trip was, these are the memories that I earned. It was a good day.

Swept Over

"Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me" (Ps. 42.7, NIV).

Life can be tumultuous, but even in times of relative calm this verse breaks against my heart, low tide. And I take great encouragement knowing that they are his waves that sweep over me.